Holiday Hunger? Breaking All The RuleS!

gobbletillyouwableorgSo I was asking myself the other day how was I going to handle all the food I will encounter today. It’s Thanksgiving after all, and food will be everywhere. I have extra insulin with me, but I have been down this road before: feeling good while eating the food but sick later on into tomorrow. I’ve played this tape countless times, and the outcome never changes I only end up feeling guilty and sad in the end.

Why do we do it? At first, I thought it was cultural, or my family dynamics. I ruled both out as an excuse. “Cause no one forces you to eat, and most won’t care what you eat or don’t eat.” Although, the diabetes police can be quite ruthless during the holiday season.

Whether you give in or not, you might feel angry, sad or frustrated. Maybe you only see your family on holidays for a reason, and emotional turmoil is brewing beneath the surface, of you. The anger about your brother, sister, parents, uncle and so on; you think may have locked away for some rainy holiday.

The Rub
It may not be raining that day, but emotions arise long before, during, and after the family functions. Especially, when the family members, who always stresses you out, is going to be at that family function and will inevitably cause unwanted drama during that event.

Some people eat when emotionally charged. What kind of emotion it is, doesn’t matter. Happy, Sad, Angry or Frustrated it is all the same when it comes to eating. There is a tendency to eat when one is not hungry because of their emotions or even to avoid a feeling. The feeling of being left out of the group when everyone else is eating can create social pressure to eat.

If you’re the planner in the family? There are all the things you have to do to plan and execute the event. Is it stressful? Of course, but add on family issues, and it can be paralyzing.

The Fix
Those of you who follow my blog know I started attending therapy way too young and still do. It helps me deal with family stuff and the day to day of living with diabetes. It is never too late in life to start therapy. I recommend beginning talk therapy, it may not help for this Thanksgiving, but it may help for the following ones.

Some of my clients opt to not go to family events until they feel family members won’t trigger them to emotionally eat. Other clients may go, but bring a friend to run interference or have an exit strategy in place (Like when you tell a friend to call you 30 minutes into a blind date). If you need help, some therapists, like myself will help you construct an exit strategy/plan of action personalized for your specific needs.

It is hard because feelings are mixed. You don’t have to suffer in silence while acting like everything is okay.

Talk about it with your friends may help. If not, I have spent years helping people living with diabetes resolve issues like this. You can call me at (917) 272-4829, and we can set up a consult session.

If you want more information on how I can help you deal with the holidays or other issues you face; check out my website:


Medical Disclaimer:
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.

Published by Eliot LeBow LCSW, CDE

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist, diabetes-coach, presenter, and writer. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy takes a holistic approach combining traditional talk therapy with diabetes education and management help. It addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of living life with diabetes while still addressing other non-diabetes related life problems to create a unique holistic approach to helping people with diabetes thrive.

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